Why Is It Important To Seek Treatment For Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is one of the most frequently reported sexually transmitted infection. Each year more than 1.2 million cases are reported in the US alone in reproductive aged females. The disturbing symptoms and complications of chlamydia can be managed with antibiotics. Unfortunately, in most cases, patient may not present with any symptoms, which makes it difficult to detect and cure the infection. But if chlamydia infection is left untreated, the risk of severe complications increases; such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.
What Is The Usual Treatment For Chlamydia Infection?
Antibiotics like doxycycline and azithromycin are usually prescribed to treat chlamydia infection. The dose and dosing frequency depends upon the severity of infection. Following are the dosage regimens that are mostly advised in the clinical practice:
- Azithromycin (4x250mg) as a single dose OR
- 5-day regimen in which one tablet of 500 mg azithromycin is given on first day followed by 250mg tablet once daily for next 4 days OR
- 100mg doxycycline given 2-3 times daily for 10-14 days
Individuals who are suffering from this disease are also advised medications for gonorrhea because both infectious agents share similar pathophysiology and symptoms and in about 50% cases, both infections simultaneously exist.
The infected individual should not have sex until his/her test reports for chlamydia comes negative. It is highly recommended to get re-examined after 3-4 months of eradication of infection. If patient is allergic to a particular medication or is pregnant, the doctor must be informed because this information is important to know while selecting the drug regimen. One must complete the antibiotic course for proper treatment and infected person’s sex partner(s) should also be tested and treated. Once a person is tested positive they should inform all their sexual partners about it and ask them to get tested too. In this way early diagnosis can be done and cure can be achieved.
As discussed previously, due to mild symptomatology, most cases of chlamydia are not diagnosed due to which the risk of developing serious complications significantly increases.
Complications In Females
Infection can spread to reproductive organs such as fallopian tubes and uterus; thereby causing the damage to reproductive machinery. One of the consequence of uncured chlamydia is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can block the fallopian tubes, leading to infertility. Other effects of PID are miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, premature births and pelvic pain.
Besides above mentioned complications, untreated chlamydial infection can also cause:
- Mucopurulent cervicitis (inflammation of cervix, causing yellowish discharge from vagina and painful intercourse)
- Inflammation of urinary bladder (Cystitis)
Complications In Males
Untreated chlamydia can lead to inflammation of urethra (Urethritis), prostate gland (prostatitis) and inflammation in internal structure of testicles (Epididymitis). Urethritis is characterized by yellowish discharge from penis and if left untreated it may induce kidney problems. On the other hand, epididymitis can lead to fertility issues and reactive arthritis (rare complication of epididymitis).
Reiter’s syndrome is another complication which can take place. The syndrome is characterized by the inflammation of joints, eyes and urethra.
How To Protect Yourself From Chlamydia?
- Avoid polygamous sexual relationships
- Before having sex with someone new, make sure they are not infected
- Use condoms from beginning till the end of sexual act because chlamydia can spread even if penis or tongue is not fully penetrated inside.
- Avoids using spermicides that are water based because such formulations contain nonoxynol-9 which does not efficiently prevent transmission of chlamydia.
- If you can’t have monogamous life, then get yourself tested for STDs very often.
1. Kong, F. Y. S., Tabrizi, S. N., Law, M., Vodstrcil, L. A., Chen, M., Fairley, C. K., … & Hocking, J. S. (2014). Azithromycin versus doxycycline for the treatment of genital chlamydia infection–a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciu220.
2. Price, M. J., Ades, A. E., De Angelis, D., Welton, N. J., Macleod, J., Soldan, K., … & Horner, P. J. (2013). Risk of pelvic inflammatory disease following Chlamydia trachomatis infection: analysis of prospective studies with a multistate model. American journal of epidemiology, 178(3), 484-492.
3. Geisler, W. M., Lensing, S. Y., Press, C. G., & Hook, E. W. (2013). Spontaneous resolution of genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection in women and protection from reinfection. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 207(12), 1850-1856.